I’ve received a lot of good advice in my life. Near the top of the list is this wise observation from a friend: “Life is not made by the dreams that you dream but by the choices that you make.”

He’s right—your life today is the sum total of all the choices you’ve made up to this point. The apostle Paul gave similar advice in Philippians 1:10, when he said to “approve the things that are excellent” (1:10). In any given situation, we have a whole continuum of choices—ranging from really rotten choices, to the mediocrity of average choices, to choices that are good, and then to those that are excellent. God wants to move us across the continuum, past our natural impulses, all the way to excellent choices.

Often it’s challenging to make the most excellent choice, especially if there aren’t many others joining us. Sometimes it may feel as if our desires and freedoms have been suppressed. But if you follow Paul’s advice, you’ll notice some really positive outcomes—like being pure and blameless and fruitful (v.11).

Make the choice to live a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Then revel in the result!